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Sonora Quest provides 3-with-1 combination testing

Photo of Sonora Quest delivering blood test results
Sonora Quest Laboratories is launching its qualitative, multi-target, molecular diagnostics testing application available via a health provider’s request, Sonora Quest officials say. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)

Sonora Quest releases COVID-19, RSC & influenza diagnostic test

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Sonora Quest Laboratories is launching its qualitative, multi-target, molecular diagnostics testing that uses only one patient sample to aid in the detection of COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza.

This 3-with-1 respiratory virus combination testing is available with a health care provider’s order, according to a press release.

COVID-19, RSV and the flu present similar symptoms — fevers, cough, headaches, sore throat, muscle soreness, fatigue — and the potential for severe outcomes that may lead to hospital visits and even death. However, each virus may require different treatments, Sonora Quest officials report.

With this respiratory virus combination testing, the collection can be performed once to provide results for three different viruses. Potentially helping a patient get answers more quickly increases the possibility of using time-sensitive treatments and slows the spread to help prevent others from being sick.

“Because the symptoms from these viruses are so similar, the most accurate way to determine whether you have COVID-19, RSV or the flu, is to get tested,” said Scientific Medical Director Dr. Stacy White at Sonora Quest. “Our new respiratory combination testing helps Arizonans get those answers faster from a single swab—and with the high infection rates and hospitalizations caused by these viruses, it’s needed now more than ever.”

Sonora Quest releases COVID-19, RSC & influenza diagnostic test

The 2022-23 Flu/RSV season began on October 2, 2022.

Since then, the Arizona Department of Health Services has reported more than 31,000 lab-confirmed cases of influenza and more than 13,900 cases of RSV, with 35% of all cases reported in children aged one to four years old. Weekly rates for influenza cases have been as high as almost 15 times the five-season average, with weekly rates for RSV reaching almost 28 times the five-season average.

Meanwhile, the new Coronavirus subvariant XBB.1.5 now makes up around 43% of U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to projections from the US Centers for Disease Control. XBB is easier to spread broadly, including among those who have been previously infected or vaccinated. Some patients have even been shown to test positive for more than one of these three viruses — COVID-19, RSV and Influenza.

“COVID-19, RSV and the flu are widespread in Arizona, and one of the best ways to slow the spread is to get tested. Knowing your status helps determine the best options for treatment and prevents you from spreading it to your loved ones,” said Dr. White.

After a health care provider determines respiratory combination testing is needed, the provider will collect a sample with a nasopharyngeal swab, the same style swab as the collection for COVID-19 PCR testing. Then, the sample will be sent to be processed for testing at Sonora Quest Laboratories’ main lab.

Test results are returned within an average of 2-4 days to the ordering provider and through Sonora Quest’s online patient portal, Sonora Quest officials report.

With reports of antigen/at-home COVID testing having a sensitivity as low as 60% — and requiring three tests to detect the latest variants — the PCR testing used in this respiratory testing continues to be the gold standard.

“The health care challenges we’re facing continue to evolve, and innovations like our combination testing can help reduce the barriers to overcoming those challenges,” Dr. White said.

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